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Old 09-27-2013, 01:26 PM   #1
paulcbrowne OP
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Misinterpreted Headlight Modulator

Being a bit paranoid since an accident two years ago, I added a headlight modulator to hopefully increase my visibility. Today, at a busy intersection waiting to turn right, a car pulled right in front of me from the oncoming lane. As it turns out, it was someone I know. We were also headed to the same place and, when we had parked, I thanked him (!) for cutting in front of me. He responded that he thought I was flashing my lights to tell him to go ahead of me.

He's actually a pretty nice guy, and so I thought about what he had said. The particular intersection is difficult to make a left hand turn, and one can sometimes have to wait for another light cycle if no one lets them turn. I can see how he understood my lights flashing at him.

I'm now rethinking the use of the headlight modulator. To some it's aggravating, but if it's at all likely to be misunderstood, maybe it's not such a great safety addition.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
rocker59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulcbrowne View Post
if it's at all likely to be misunderstood, maybe it's not such a great safety addition.
That pretty much sums it up.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:47 PM   #3
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
JimVonBaden
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That pretty much sums it up.


Annoying too!

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Old 09-27-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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That's why I don't have one!

I never understood why riders didn't think they would be confused for flashing the headlight.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:48 PM   #6
DAKEZ
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Bingo! Half the population thinks you are giving up your right of way.

NOT Good!
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
High Country Herb
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There are definitely complications using those, such as being mistaken for law enforcement, and having people pulling into the gravel to get out of your way (possibly throwing gravel into the road ahead of you), or mistaken as a signal of some kind.

The general premise of increasing visibility is a good idea, and can be achieved in other ways.

I read somewhere (it may have been in the book Proficient Motorcycling) that the 3 main things that help are:

1. more than one color (all one color can blend into traffic)
2. an overall triangle shape of lights (the brain can interpret side by side as a more distant car)
3. moving lights (sometimes they just plain don't notice you)

If you don't want the modulator, 2 amber lights mounted to either the forks, or the mirrors (I just saw this one recently) will achieve the other 2 improvements. I think 2 different type of lights would also work, such as a combination of standard and LED.

The modulating taillight is a completely different animal, and very effective I think.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Downer View Post
I never understood why riders didn't think they would be confused for flashing the headlight.
who the hell flashes their headlight to other traffic? This is a stupid thing.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:24 PM   #9
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who the hell flashes their headlight to other traffic? This is a stupid thing.
its a big thing in other countries
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
High Country Herb
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its a big thing in other countries
...and with Gold Wing riders. I would say 4 out of 5 have it on their bikes.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Isorg View Post
who the hell flashes their headlight to other traffic? This is a stupid thing.
Flashing twice tells truck drivers it's clear to pull over. Many others use the same signal. Trucks have enough trouble in hilly areas so if it's clear I will flash my lights twice. Being extra considerate to truck drivers seems to be returned with interest. I don't put myself too close behind, but will let a truck in if their momentum (or lack of momentum) shows they will soon need to change lanes.

This isn't flashing brights; it's off, on, off, on.

It's easier with pre-'76 motorcycles.

(I don't have a headlight modulator.)
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:32 PM   #12
Chuckracer
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Great. But riding into an intersection with a headlight flashing is borderline suicide.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:36 PM   #13
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I don't like anything about them.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:45 PM   #14
Norhasken
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Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
That pretty much sums it up.
Yup.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #15
Norhasken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isorg View Post
who the hell flashes their headlight to other traffic? This is a stupid thing.
Do you actually have any on the road driving experience?
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